Hundreds of Potentially Diseased Hogs Arriving From Swine Fever-Stricken Vietnam

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Police arrest hog smugglers in Tbong Khmum province earlier this month. (Supplied)
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As many as 500 hogs a day are entering the country from Vietnam, where an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever has forced the culling of 2.5 million pigs, a local association said.

The spread of swine fever — highly contagious and almost always fatal for pigs but harmless to humans — earlier led to an emergency culling in Ratanakkiri near the Vietnam border in an attempt to protect local farms.

Srun Pov, president of the Cambodian Livestock Raisers Association, said despite a government ban on all hog imports from Vietnam, pigs were still being smuggled across the border every day.

“It’s almost every province along the border with Vietnam, but most of the pig imports are through Prey Veng and Tbong Khmum provinces,” Pov said. “It’s no less than 500 pigs being smuggled from Vietnam into Cambodia every day.”

Local television reports from Tbong Khmum this month have shown police officers stopping trucks crammed with pigs from Vietnam and arresting the importers.

Pov urged authorities to crack down harder on contraband hogs, which he said imperiled the local industry.

“Stop the greedy, bad people who import pigs and threaten the local economy,” he said.

The Agriculture Ministry’s animal health department director, Tan Phannara, said the government was already taking action to prevent the trafficking of potentially diseased pigs.

“If the association says that 500 pigs are being imported, let him cooperate with my side to prevent it — let him pass on the information to me to see where it is coming from,” Phannara said. “My side will prevent it.”

Officers were working round the clock, with arrests made in Svay Rieng and Tbong Khmum on Tuesday night against smugglers, he said on Wednesday.

On May 30, Agriculture Minister Veng Sokhon issued an order to all provincial agricultural departments along the Vietnamese border to increase their vigilance to prevent the spread of African swine fever into the country. He warned the provinces of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Prey Veng, Kampot and Kandal to especially be on high alert.

African swine fever wreaked havoc across China last year, leading to the culling of 1 million hogs. It spread into Vietnam earlier this year, and has since forced its authorities to cull 2.5 million pigs in an attempt to halt its spread, a Vietnamese official said on Tuesday.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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